John Piper, a prominent Calvinist pastor and author and one of the heads of the Neo-Reformed movement of Christians that includes luminous pastor-leaders as Mark Driscoll seems to believe in and speak for a misogynistic, bullying, monstrous God that if the Christian Church is his bride, as the bible says, we would need to divorce and put out a restraining order on. Being battered, bruised and subject to abuse is no way to live in a relationship. And it’s hardly a way to live at all...
I’ve already written about Piper’s excuses for a physically abusive spouse here, and plenty of prominent Christian scholar/writers (including Tony Jones, Rachel Held Evans, and Scot McKnight) have written about the problems of Piper’s all-controlling, male-dominant god/supervillain before. And then this morning I saw that Peter Enns delved head-first into the swarm. And I’m thankful for that. Because this is the sociopath that Piper describes as God based on his reading of the genocides of the book of Joshua:
God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs….
If I were to drop dead right now, or a suicide bomber downstairs were to blow this building up and I were blown into smithereens, God would have done me no wrong. He does no wrong to anybody when he takes their life, whether at 2 weeks or at age 92.
God is not beholden to us at all. He doesn’t owe us anything.
|This, courtesy of Heath March at marchingonandon|
This is what we’re supposed to believe about the Hebrew/Christian God. We are supposed to accept the image of (and cower before and accept the fate of) the God of Conquering, Genocidal Joshua over and above the God of Humble, Healing Jesus. I can’t. I refuse to. I’ve seen enough abuse in my clients, in my friends, in my co-congregants, in the churches I’ve attended and been around, in my community, in my own life. I refuse to bow before a God who demands I love Him*.
I used to sing songs like this, in church, to this destructive, manipulative, abusive God. I used to pray to Him and try to find some solace among all the destruction and death surrounding me that He supposedly allowed and even willed. I used to sing lyrics about how He is greater and stronger and able to beat your god into a pulp.
Is this the kind of God that Jesus presents?
- The kind of God that has to force you to love Him?
- The kind of person that wants us to accept how beautiful He is, but tells you you’re contemptible and ugly?
- The kind of lover who treats you like garbage and will only accept you when you realize that you are worthless without Him?
- The kind of husband who forces you to receive and accept His seed? (Does that sound like rape? Because, despite the counter-claims by the authors, it is)
- The kind of man who believes that His emotional needs are supposed to be first and, if there is any left over, you must give that to your other leaders?
- The kind of spouse who gives ultimatums and threats?
- The kind of lover who can only accept you as worthy of His presence when He hides you behind someone else’s (His own?) image?
Is this the God of Jesus, or the God of our theology based on a man-centric, cold and cruel world? This kind of God/lover can’t be trusted. He is abusive.
Or is Jesus and his God known as a wooer? As the ultimate in Truth. As a healer? Loving all? Creating all? Asking that we love our neighbors AS we love ourselves, and our wives as Christ loved the Church?
What kind of God do we believe in?
Any father who gives His children snakes when they’re hungry needs to have His children removed, brought to a safe place far away from Him, and counseled and treasured.
*I normally do not use gender-specific pronouns to describe God. But this is a different God, a patriarchialistic God, and so needs to be identified as such.